Ninth-ranked Florida staves off Georgia with two-out run in the ninth
ATHENS, Ga. -- Freshman pinch hitter Jeremy Vasquez delivered a game-winning single with two outs in the ninth inning to drive in senior Richie Martin as No. 9 Florida evened its weekend series with a 3-2 victory against Georgia on Saturday afternoon at Foley Field.
Sophomore left-hander A.J. Puk was brilliant in six shutout innings for the Gators (34-13/14-9 SEC), notching a career-high 11 strikeouts and issuing zero walks. After surrendering a pair of singles in the opening stanza, he retired the final 16 hitters he faced. Georgia (22-24/7-15 SEC) came back from a pair of one-run deficits before UF’s ninth-inning heroics pushed it to 7-3 in one-run games this season.
With one down in the ninth, Martin tripled into the left-field corner off of Bulldogs’ junior reliever Sean McLaughlin (3-5). After sophomore Peter Alonso walked for the third time in the contest for runners on the corners and two out, junior Harrison Bader was walked intentionally to load the bases. Vasquez roped a 1-0 pitch into right field to bring home Martin and Alonso was thrown out at the plate to keep UGA’s deficit at one run.
Senior Bobby Poyner (4-1) set down the first two batters in the home part of the frame before senior Brandon Stephens and freshman Mitchell Webb (2-for-3) had consecutive singles. However, Poyner forced a grounder by sophomore Skyler Weber force Webb at second base for the final out.
Bader opened the scoring against junior starter Ryan Lawlor in the third inning with an RBI single into left field that scored senior Josh Tobias. Tobias had a one-out double down the left-field line and Alonso had followed with a walk before Bader collected his 46th RBI of the campaign.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the seventh on a two-out double by Webb. Junior Aaron Rhodes replaced Puk and issued a leadoff walk to junior Zack Bowers. Poyner (three innings, four hits, one run) was summoned from the bullpen and caught senior Jared Walsh looking on strikes before a grounder by Stephens advanced Bowers to second base. Webb roped a two-bagger to left field to knot the game at 1-1.
Freshman Mike Rivera gave the Gators a 2-1 lead in the eighth with a two-out single that scored freshman pinch runner Logan Browning. Freshman JJ Schwarz had a one-out single off of McLaughlin and was replaced by Browning, who swiped second base. After sophomore Buddy Reed (2-for-4) went down swinging, Rivera roped McLaughlin’s next offering into center field to bring across Browning. Sophomore Stephen Wrenn answered for UGA in the bottom of the frame with a two-out solo homer to left field.